The document is quite BULKY but I will focus my write on few salient points that largely affects everyone.
The NBC is saying that Online TV subscription platforms like Netflix, IrokoTV, Amazon TV, LindaIkeji TV that hustle for original content with their monies cannot enjoy exclusive deals that will enable them showcase these original contents like movies, documentaries on their platforms alone so long they are broadcasting in Nigeria. The NBC new code states that they would have to be sub-license their original content to stations like NTA, Silverbird, Galaxy Television in Ibadan – imagine watching some HD Netflix Movies on NTA or Galaxy or Ebonyi broadcasting service, please imagine, so ridiculous, right? Same thought I can’t even begin to fathom. Now the most ridiculous part of this new NBC CODE is that NBC says it will also regulate the prices of this sub-licensing so it means whatever amount it claims these stations pay, they (online streaming platforms) must accept even if it undermines their making profits.
I don’t know the backward form of thinking that would have necessitated about this form of policy direction because it negates the principle of copyright and enjoying exclusive rights to share your original content with those you deem fit, moreover there is a copyright law that protects creators of original content from having their works been mass published without commensurate financial benefits.
With Nigeria, there is always some form of backdoor lobbying by traditional businesses that have refused to up their TV programming game in line with global trends and standards – how many young persons even bother to watch television nowadays? How many of us have the time or luxury to watch local TV stations that mostly share irrelevant information or that mostly share tale information long after we have digested it on digital platforms.
The NBC updated code should be focused on digitalizing our traditional TV stations. The new NBC code is meant to foster and encourage creativity but this NEW CODE does the EXACT OPPOSITE. Seeing the large market platforms like NETFLIX has, it even created a new platform called Netflix Naija for its large Naija users and as a way to entice more users. Nigerian Movie Content Creators are now reaping sure benefits for their sleepless nights writing awesome scripts. There are better ways the NBC can drive POLICY to carry every stakeholder along. No matter the hurdles NBC places such as the ridiculous it has placed above, technology and innovation always win and Nigeria will be the bigger loser if it decides to divest from Nigeria.
Now the new NBC codes states that every traditional or digital media platform must dedicate about 120 minutes (not so sure of the exact minutes) everyday across different programming time-belts to showcase emergency or health advisory to members of the public. I find this policy weird because streaming platforms are called streaming for a purpose, it is not LIVE and the bulk of their programs are preloaded with several content we can choose from –so is the NBC telling Netflix or IrokoTV to freeze all their preloaded contents at specific time-belts so they can showcase this mandatory programming it has deemed as important to national security. This is the funniest of them ALL. We have the Ministry of Information and National Orientation for such high-level INFORMATION DISSEMINATION – What the heck are they doing?
In summary, the Nigerian Copyright Laws supersedes every or any form of CODE the NBC has introduced, the Nigerian Copyright Law is explicit about how original contents are protected and how the original creator can decide to share his or her work exclusively or open-end – this code cannot stand against a law enacted by an ACT of parliament. If the NBC refuses to pull down this code and clarify its position, these platforms are encouraged to seek redress in court for an interpretation of this code in line with the Nigerian Copyright Act which is backed by the Constitution and the constitution stands SUPREME above all CODES or Executive Orders. By all means, these streaming platforms should seek dialogue over court cases but if it fails to yield result, please pursue a course that works for free enterprise.
For content creators particularly of movies and documentaries, you are the most affected if this CODE goes into effect, kindly raise your voice in solidarity because your means of livelihood is been threatened by some ignorant Government Official that don’t understand 21st century BUSINESS OF CONTENT CREATION.
What do you think about this issue? Kindly add your voice.
Kindly share your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
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EldaDavid is a Public Policy Practitioner who works and resides in Lagos, Nigeria. EldaDavid is the President-in-Council and Research Lead for the Nigerian Global Affairs Council – A Technology-based and Digital Media-driven Public Policy and Evidence-based Research Think-Tank that simplifies Government Policy Positions at all times.